I dream of eating and being eaten. Of carrying a child inside of me and isn't that all the same dream—of being taken, the art of requiring a proxy. When I dream about men who take things. When I dream the world back to winter. When I hear men taking things I think about ice. The season of dark blue and he and I are still fucking. After it happened, our bodies slept like magnets reversed, repulsion a part of Earth's inner layers, the holy and lowly places of my body splayed. Now I gag when I brush my teeth. I brush my teeth three times and gag each time every story of crude hands blends together. I am both mechanical and naturally found within the dirt. That which is both holy and lowly, I am the bathwater of my released toxins. This is how we get away. It's not down the drain. When I hear about it, I leave my own body; I think about hers, ALLIGATORS LOOSE IN THE FREEWAY, I'VE BEEN BITTEN. I'VE BEEN DRAGGED UNDERNEATH THE WATER, I think about Somebody touched Somebody in the night Somebody pushed themselves in and the opposing force caved in like a leak. When I hear about it, I make my mouth into one line, I seal everything up. I dream of months in colors, that of sickly blue breath I exhaled after the fact, after deciding not to love and deciding not to speak, the color of the sound of a cough rushing out like a dog. I seal everything up so I'm safe when I hear about it, SHUT UP SHUT UP, like my father laying the rolled towels down at the front door—nothing comes in, nothing goes out—I dream of being eaten. I dream of sex with other men who are always faceless as am I, the color of the month an absence of color. When I think about her she is a woman dressed beautifully, she hands me flowers at the corner by the Chevron. She is not a broken woman. When I hear about it, I hear my lips pressed against each other like two lovers clinging. This is how we get away. When you ask if you can touch me, I reach out to keep your finger in my teeth. I keep your finger like a pearl. I dragged a deer out of the road, but don't call me a hero. Its body was the first I touched like my own, and the moon was smiling on. Please understand, I am cold because I heard about it in December and know that those we let in eat us from the inside out like maggots in the husk of an grocery store green pepper when the lifeblood of one becomes the lifeblood of another, how each time I think about him instead I think about him, and her, and me, and you, and THEY'RE COMING I think about echoes, how the walls repel or absorb what I pull from their insides. I think about the tiny room where I crawled back in that bed like a burrowing mammal, how I will never climb back into the bed of a cold fish. I'll never. I'll throw the dead seawater back. I'll think of other animals. I'll throw warm menstrual blood on the front window of his car and his car and the sidewalk next to it and onto every predator's pointed teeth. They say, don't climb back into that bed. Don't you swim with sharks. When I think about it, I tear a hole in the curtain and go through the window. I tear a hole in the sky, split the clouds. They separate like watercolors. This is how we get away: sunset dissolving into treeline, holding hands, I take them all with me. I take them all with me.
Kina Viola currently lives Oxford, Mississippi, where she works on various things, poetry and not. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in GlitterMOB, The Collagist, ENTROPY, and other journals. She is the managing editor for chapbooks at Big Lucks Books.